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Coronavirus: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Fashion Industry

Coronavirus: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Fashion Industry

The outbreak of Covid-19 has undoubtedly disturbed our everyday lives as we are now all social distancing and quarantining in our homes to avoid further spread of the disease.

As of April 7th 2020, there have been 55,242 confirmed cases of coronavirus, in the UK, with the the number of Covid-19 related deaths rising to 6,159.

A closed Louis Vuitton shop is seen on the Champs Elysees.
Image – Getty Images

All aspects of society have been affected – including the fashion industry which has seen the outbreak negatively impact the Fall 2020 season.

All brands, from high end to independent are feeling the impact of the virus, as many have taken unprecedented measures as a result.

Louis Vuitton, luxury French fashion house, have also been subject to changes in their everyday workings.

LVMH, the corporation that owns Louis Vuitton, has furloughed thousands of staff members as a result of the virus outbreak. They recently announced plans to pay their workers out of the brand, instead of relying on taxpayer’s money.

In addition, LVMH has also started producing hand sanitiser out of their perfume production lines, to help prevent the spread of the virus and support French hospitals.

Louis Vuitton has also released a statement to their social media accounts on March 20th. Although the statement did not mention Covid-19 directly, it did address the “uncertain” time that we are now living in.

The LV social media accounts have also been positing archived photos from previous campaigns under the hashtag: #SpiritofTravel, in reaction to the travel restrictions bought on by the coronavirus outbreak.

High street brands, such as Zara, have also been dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

Parented by Inditex, the Spanish high street brand has closed 3,785 of the stores across 39 countries in Europe, including the UK, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Zara owner offers to make scrubs for Spain's coronavirus-stretched hospitals. Photo: Reuters
Image – Reuters

Like so many other high street retailers, the virus has brought a sharp decline in sales due to social distancing restrictions.

Inditex, the organisation owns Zara, as well as Bershka and Pull&Bear, stated that their sales had dropped drastically by 24.1% in the first two weeks of March 2020. The clothing company continues to anticipated furthers drops in the foreseeable future.

The company has booked a provision of €287 million (£262.9 million) as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, which means that the value od their spring/summer inventory had decreased.

Similarly to LVMH, Inditex has began using their 13 factories to produce medical supplies such as hospital gowns and surgical masks, for Spanish hospitals.

Spain is currently one of the world’s most affected countries, with there being 141,942 confirmed cases, and 14,045 deaths, as of April 7th 2020.

Zara has been using its official social media accounts to encourage social distancing, with a series of visuals stating: “Respecting social distancing but staying closer than ever”.

Many independent brands are also showing massive amounts of support during these unsettling times, despite not having large companies behind them.

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Like many other stores, director, Anna Park, announced that all of her stores, located in Primrose Hill, London, and Bury St Edmonds, would be closing until further notice during the virus outbreak.

The brand continues to keep customers engaged through social media, through posts about the owner, the products and food diaries.

In comparison to luxury and high street retailers, independents such as ANNA have taken a more personal approach to the running of their businesses during this time.

The relaxed, personal feel offers a very different atmosphere to that of the bigger fashion companies. It gives customers a comfortable and light environment amid the uncertainty and worry that dominates everyday life at the moment.

Just like many of aspect of everyday life, the fashion industry has definitely felt the overwhelming impact of COVID-19, in such a short space of time.

Whether it be a luxury designer brand, a high street favourite or a smaller, independent brand, everyone has experienced rapid change over the last few months.

Although it is near impossible to predict what the next few months will bring for the fashion industry, the feeling of solidarity and charity within the industry provides much needed hope and positivity for everyone, showing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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